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Book of Isaiah

Background to Isaiah

100 years after the time of Elijah, things are still going downhill at a rapid pace. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had one bad king after another, perhaps with the exception of Jehu (2 Kings 9). Finally the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria. The Assyrians came down from the north and conquered Babylon and Samaria (2 Kings 17), in 721 B.C. There the author makes it very clear that the Assyrian’s conquered God’s people because God's people were idolaters. They had broken the covenant and brought on God’s wrath. God is not only the God of the Covenant, but He is also the God of Judgment, and His judgment was that the Israelites would go into captivity. Most of them resettled in different places and the area of Israel was then occupied with foreigners who brought with them many different, often contradictory beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought on religion (2 Ki.17:33:33-34). Sounds like today!

When all these foreign people came into Israel, bringing their gods, they also accepted the Lord Yahweh as one among many gods. It was this mixture of races and religion that became known in the New Testament as the Samaritans . . . therefore was started the conflict that the Jews had with the Samaritans.

The Southern Kingdom of Judah did not do much better. They had a mixture of good kings and bad kings, and it comes down to a series of four kings. We meet Azariah who was also called Uziah and Jotham. Both of them were good kings and yet they did NOT destroy the high places (idolatry). That is the theme all the way through their story. They were good kings but they allowed the mixing of religions, and did not get rid of the high places.

Then came Ahaz, a very wicked king who, among other things, offered his own child as a sacrifice on the high place (2 Ki.16:3).

Ahaz is followed by Hezekiah a good king who actually destroys ALL the high places, and who trusted in the Lord. The four kings Azariah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah ruled from 792 B.C. to 686 B.C. It was during this time that the prophets Amos, Hosea and Micah served the Lord. And it was also during the reign of these four kings that Isaiah prophesied. Isaiah appears to have been from an aristocratic (noble) family. He was highly educated. The fact is that we do not know what many of the words in the Book of Isaiah mean and have to make educated guesses because his vocabulary is far above us. That is why it is the hardest book in the Bible to translate, and comment on. It is one of the most quoted Old Testament books in the New Testament, it is dominated with themes of God’s holiness and judgment and redemption, and it has the clearest picture of Christ and what it is to be a follower of Christ anywhere in the Old Testament.

There were two kinds of teachers in the ancient church: #1. Ordinary, the priests and Levites.
#2. Extraordinary, the prophets. The prophets were called directly by God, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, and were granted remarkable gifts and graces, and especially with a supernatural knowledge of Divine mysteries, and of future things, and were endowed by God with an authority superior not only to the ordinary teachers of the church, but in some way even to the civil powers of the nation. These holy prophets, whose writings are contained in the sacred Scripture, number sixteen. Of these sixteen, Isaiah is first in line, and, as may seem probable, in time also. But he was undoubtedly contemporary with Hosea, whom others suppose to have been before him. Compare the following:
Isaiah 1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. (KJV)  
Hosea 1:1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. (KJV)  

The Jews think that Isaiah was of the royal blood of Judah, but that is uncertain. But without any doubt, he was the prince of all the prophets, for we cannot deny this, when we consider the great extent and range of his prophecies, the exceptional beauty, brilliancy and inspiration of the mysteries that were revealed to him and by him . . . and the majesty and elegance of his style, and the incomparable energy and power of his sermons. He does so clearly and fully describe the Person, the offices, the sufferings and Kingdom of Christ, that some of the ancients called him the Fifth Evangelist. There are far more testimonies and quotations in the New Testament taken out from Isaiah than out of all the other prophets, and Psalms.

A prophet is one that has a great closeness and a great interest with Heaven, and therefore has a commanding authority upon the Earth. God Himself spoke to all the thousands of Israel from the top of Mount Sinai (Ex.19:18-25); but the effect was so unbearably dreadful that they pleaded that God would in the future speak to them as He had done before. They did not want His terror that should make them afraid, nor His Hands to be heavy upon them (Job 33:7). God approved this (they have well said, what they have spoken, Deut.5:27-33). Since then, we do not expect to hear from God Himself Personally any more, like it was before, but, instead by His prophets, who all had received their instructions directly from God, with a command to deliver them to His people.  

Before the Old Testament began to be written, there were God’s awe-inspired prophets, who were consulted instead of Bibles. Our Saviour seems to count Abel among the prophets (Mat.23:31, 35). Enoch was also a prophet: Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (KJV)
He was the first in predicting what is to be last in the judgment of the last days. God said of Abraham, he is a prophet (Gen.20:7). Jacob also foretold things to come (Gen.49:1). Moses was, beyond all comparison, the most illustrious of all the Old Testament prophets, for with him the Lord spoke face to face (Deut.34:10). He was the first prophet to write, and by his hand the first foundations of Holy Scriptures were laid. Even those that were called to be his assistants in the government had the spirit of prophecy, such a plentiful outpouring there was of the Holy Spirit at that time (Num.11;25). But sad to say, that after the death of Moses, for some time, the Spirit of the Lord appeared and acted in the church of Israel more as a military Spirit than as a Spirit of prophecy, and inspired men more for acting than speaking . . . in the time of the judges.

We see the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Othniel, Gideon, Samson and others, for the service of their country, with their swords, not with their pens. Messages were then sent from Heaven by angels, as to Gideon and Manoah, and to the people (Judg.2:1; 6:12; 13:3). Not in one place in the Book of Judges is there ever one mention of a prophet, only Deborah is called a prophetess in (Judg.4:4). Then the Word of the Lord was precious; there was no open vision (1 Sam.3:1). They had the Law of Moses, recently written, which they studied. It was in Samuel that prophecy was revived, and in Samuel a famous period of the church began, a time of great light in a constant uninterrupted succession of prophets, until sometime after the captivity, when the Old Testament was completed in Malachi, and then prophecy ceased for almost 400 years, until the Coming of the Great Prophet (Deut.18:15-19), and His forerunner, John the Baptist (Mat.3:1-12; 11:9-14; Acts 13:24-25).

David and others were prophets, to write sacred songs for the use of the church. After them we often read of prophets sent on specific errands, and raised up for special public services, among whom the most famous were Elijah and Elisha in the Kingdom of Israel. But none of these put their prophecies in writing, nor have we any remains of them but some fragments in the histories of their times; there was nothing of their own writing (to my knowledge), except one epistle of Elijah's (2 Chron.21:12-20). But towards the latter end of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, God directed His servants the prophets to write and circulate some of their sermons, or summaries of them. The dates of many of their prophecies are uncertain, but the earliest of them was in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and Jeroboam the second, his contemporary, king of Israel, about 200 years before the captivity, and not long after Joash had slain Zechariah the son of Jehoiada in the courts of the Temple. If the prophets were killed, their prophecies would live,  and remain witnesses for them. Hosea was the first of the writing prophets, then Joel, Amos and Obadiah, published their prophecies about the same time. Isaiah began sometime after, but his prophecy is placed first, because it is the largest of them all, and has most in it of the Messiah to whom all the prophets bore witness; and indeed so much of Christ Jesus that he is justly styled the Evangelical Prophet, and, by some of the ancients, a Fifth Evangelist.

Isaiah, son of Amoz (not Amos); was a contemporary of Jonah, Amos, Hosea, in Israel, but he was younger than they were; and of Micah, in Judah. His call to a higher degree of the prophetic office (Is.6:1-13), came in the last year of Uzziah (754 B.C.). Chapters 1-5 belong to the closing years of that reign; not, as some think, to Jotham's reign. In the reign of Jotham, he seems to have exercised his office only orally, and not to have left any record of his prophecies because they were not intended for all ages. Chapters 1 through 5 and 6, are all that was designed for the Church universal of the prophecies of the first twenty years of his office. New historical epochs, such as occurred in the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah, when the affairs of Israel became interwoven with those of the Asiatic empires, are marked by prophetic writings. The prophets had now to interpret the judgments of the Lord, so as to make the people conscious of His disciplinary justice, and also of His mercy.

Thirty-ninth chapters are historical, reaching to the fifteenth year of Hezekiah; probably Chapters 10-12 and all from Chapters 13-26 belong to the same reign; the historical section being appended to enable the right understanding of these prophecies; thus we have Isaiah's office extending from about 760 to 713 B.C., forty-seven years. Tradition (Talmud) represents Isaiah as having been sawn asunder by Manasseh with a wooden saw, for having said that he had seen Jehovah (Ex.33:20; Deut.5:24). Isaiah survived Hezekiah; but "first and last" is not added, as in (2 Chron.26:22).

The second part, Chapters 40-66, contain complaints of gross idolatry, is not restricted to Manasseh's reign, but applies to previous reigns as well. At the beginning of Manasseh’s reign, Isaiah would be eighty-four; and if he prophesied for eight years afterwards, he must have endured martyrdom at ninety-two.

Isaiah’s wife is called the prophetess (Isa.8:3), as was Miriam (Ex.15:20), and was endowed with a prophetic gift.
Isaiah’s children were considered by him as not belonging merely to himself; in their names, Shearjashub (the remnant shall return Isa.7:3); and Mahershalalhashbaz (he hasteth to the prey Isa.8:1-3).
Isaiah’s clothing was that of sackcloth (Isa. 20:2). The prophet appears as the picture or example of the repentance that he taught.

The certainty of the prophecies is striking! As in the second portion of Isaiah, so too in (Mic.4:8-10) deliverance from it is foretold a 150 years before any hostilities had arisen between Babylon and Judah. Then too, all the prophets who foretell the Assyrian invasion agree that Judah should be delivered . . . NOT by Egyptian aid, but directly by the Lord. Jeremiah, in the height of the Chaldean prosperity, foretold its conquest by the Medes, who should enter Babylon through the dry bed of the Euphrates on a night of general carousing (Dan.5:30-31). Absolutely NO human could have calculated or discovered these facts.

The Isaiah Chapter 53was certainly written ages before the Messiah, yet it meticulously portrays His sufferings! This was not a Jewish invention, for the Jews looked for a Messiah who would reign, NOT go through that suffering. The prophets, deeply penetrated by the inner knowledge of the Messiah’s character, became conscious of the eternal laws by which the world is governed . . . they realize that sin is man's ruin, and must be followed by judgment, but that God's covenant mercy to His elect is unchangeable. Without the prophets, the elect remnant would have decreased, and even God's judgments would have missed their end, by not being recognized as such. Everything would have been unmeaning, isolated facts.

The Prophet Isaiah’s words will inspire you with their beautiful rhythms and lofty heights of imagery, and challenge you with their insightful rebukes and signs of judgment. It is a very inspiring book! Perhaps most important of all, Isaiah gives you a much deeper understanding of Jesus the Messiah, who fulfills these prophecies given 700 years before His Birth. For this reason Isaiah is sometimes called the "Fifth Gospel."

Isaiah is the source of nearly a quarter of the Old Testament quotations and references cited in the New Testament, more than any other Bible book . . . even passing the Psalms. In total size, Isaiah is second only to the Book of Psalms in length and in the number of chapters.
Isaiah is considered one of the literary gems of the ancient world. Here you find the apex of Hebrew poetic style, brilliant imagery, and the complete range of human emotion . . . hurt, judgment, exaltation, joy, sorrow, hope. Some of the Passages that you will remember probably include:

  • "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (1:18)
  • "Here I am, send me." (6:1-8)
  • "Unto us a child is born...."  (9:2-7)
  • "The wolf will live with the lamb ... and a little child shall lead them."  (11:1-9)
  • "And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness." (35:1-10)
  • "Comfort, comfort my people...." (40:1-31)
  • "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (40:31)
  • "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (52:13-53:12)
  • " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;...." (55:1-12)
  • "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me...." (61:1-11)
  • "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags...." (64:6)

My goal is to provide you a guide to studying Isaiah's prophecies, which I will do as my other Commentaries; a verse-by-verse commentary. Isaiah is a long and very complex book.

Early Messages (Isaiah 1-6)
The Book of Immanuel (Isaiah 7-12)
Judgment upon the Nations (Isaiah 13-23)
God's Final Victory: Isaiah's Apocalypse (Isaiah 24-27)
God's Help vs. Man's . . . Isaiah's Six Woes (Isaiah 28-35)
Hezekiah's Reign (Isaiah 36-39; 2 Kings 18)
Jerusalem's Warfare Is Over (Isaiah 40-48)
Jerusalem's Iniquity Is Pardoned (Isaiah 49-55, except 53)
The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)
Finding True Righteousness and Devotion (Is 56-59)
The Glory of God's Reign (Isaiah 60-66)

May this wonderful Book touch your heart as it does mine.

I do not know how far I will get in this long Book, so I am picking Chapters that are important to me. I am very concerned about the souls of people, and it seems with each passing day, more and more are turning away from God, and even professing Christians are going along with newly passed laws for abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage, etc.

People do not realize just how holy, pure and perfect our God is! He CANNOT and WILL NOT tolerate any sin. Every one of us sin, every day! When we do, we must repent and confess that sin to God. 1 John 1:7-10 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (KJV)

We must get right with God, because we do NOT know when Jesus could come in the clouds at the Rapture (1 Thes.4:13-18). If a person does not get called up into the clouds with Jesus, that person shall go through the Tribulation Period. Believe me, you do NOT want to go there!

I am elderly and my health is not good, and I do not know when the Lord will call me Home, but I will continue to work as long as He gives me strength, wisdom and words. Thank You Jesus, for all you have done for mankind.

Commentaries on Old Testament Books

Book of Isaiah . . Isaiah's Mini-Bible

Isaiah Ch.1 . . Isaiah Ch.2 . . Isaiah Ch.3 . . Isaiah Ch.4 . . Isaiah Ch.5 . . Isaiah Ch.6 . . Isaiah Ch.7 . . Isaiah Ch.8 . . Isaiah Ch.9 . . Isa.Ch.10 . . Isa.Ch.11 . . Isa.Ch12 . . Home Page

JUDGMENT ON THE NATIONS . . . . . Isaiah Ch.13 . . Isaiah Ch.14 . . Isaiah Ch.15 . . Isaiah Ch.16 . . Isaiah Ch.17 . . Isaiah Ch.18 . . Isaiah Ch.19 . . Isaiah Ch.20 . . Isaiah Ch.21 . . Isaiah Ch.22 . . Isaiah Ch.23 . . Home Page

ISAIAH’S APOCALYPSE . . . . . Isaiah Ch.24 . . Isaiah Ch.25 . . Isaiah Ch.26 . . Isaiah Ch.27 . . Home Page

ISAIAH'S SIX WOES . . . Isaiah Ch.28 . . Isaiah Ch.29 . . Isaiah Ch.30 . . Isaiah Ch.31 . . Isaiah Ch.32 . . Isaiah Ch.33 . . Isaiah Ch.34 . . Isaiah Ch.35 . . Home Page

Isaiah's Historic Part . . Isaiah Ch.36 . . Isaiah Ch.37 . . Isaiah Ch.38 . . Isaiah Ch.39 . . Home Page

Isaiah Speaks of Messiah's Incarnation. . Isaiah Ch.40 . . Isaiah Ch.41 . . Isaiah Ch.42 . . Isaiah Ch.43 . . Isaiah Ch.44 . . Isaiah Ch.45 . . Isaiah Ch.46 . . Isaiah Ch.47 . . Isaiah Ch.48 . . Home Page

Isaiah's Introduction to the Suffering Servant

Isaiah's Suffering Servant Prophecy. . . Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Isaiah's Redemption Through the Suffering Servant . . . Isaiah Ch.49 . . Isaiah Ch.50 . . Isaiah Ch.51 . . Isaiah Ch.52 . . Isaiah Ch.53 . . Isaiah Ch.54 . . Isaiah Ch.55 . . Isaiah Ch.56 . . Isaiah Ch.57

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